Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he sees the Republicans as having a “50-50” shot of staying in the majority following the 2020 election.
The Kentucky Republican told CNN that there are several tight races between Republican incumbents and Democratic challengers that could cost the GOP the majority and called the election “a hugely challenging cycle to hold onto” because of the close races in seven states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Montana, Maine, and North Carolina.
“That’s why I describe it like a knife fight in an alley,” McConnell said on Wednesday. “Everybody’s slugging it out.”
Cook Political Report reported in July that Democrats were favored to take back the majority in the Senate with 100 days until the election. As Election Day approaches, even more races are proving to be closer than expected, including a potential Republican pickup seat in Minnesota.
Republicans currently hold 53 seats, and Democrats have 45 seats. There are also two independents who caucus with the Democrats.
McConnell said that President Trump has been helpful behind the scenes, helping, for instance, to quash a series of attack advertisements from the conservative group Club for Growth that ran against Rep. Roger Marshall during his Kansas Senate primary against Kris Kobach, a divisive candidate who was expected to have struggled in a general election. McConnell commended Trump for stepping in and helping Marshall win the primary to secure the seat for Republicans.
“If you don’t nominate people who can appeal to the general election audience, you are going to lose,” McConnell said. “And so, the president has been helpful in working with me and making sure we got the right people nominated.”
McConnell said he is not sure whether having Trump on the top of the ticket will help or harm the party’s odds down-ballot.